William Lawrence (bishop)
William Lawrence (1850–1941) was elected as the 7th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts (1893–1927). Lawrence was the son of the notable abolitionist Amos Adams Lawrence and a member of the influential Boston family, founded by his great-grandfather and American revolutionary, Samuel Lawrence. His grandfather was the famed philanthropist Amos Lawrence.
Lawrence was born in 1850 and graduated from Harvard College, as was the tradition in his family. He earned his Doctor of Divinity (D.D.) degree from Harvard Divinity School in 1897. He was later honored with a Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) degree from Harvard in 1910 presented by his cousin and then president of Harvard, A. Lawrence Lowell.
Lawrence is best known for founding the church pension system. He was also known as "the banker bishop" because his fund raising drives "invariably developed with Midas-like magic." The financier J. P. Morgan, Jr. served as treasurer of the Church Pension Fund from its founding in 1918.
While bishop emeritus, Lawrence was involved in an effort to proposition a new Book of Common Prayer to the Church of England. Also, while in retirement, he realized the need for a chapel at Massachusetts General Hospital and in the late 1930s, as the White Building was under construction, convinced of the importance of faith and spirit in healing, he sent over fifteen hundred hand-written letters to friends of the hospital asking for their support "in this bit of pioneer hospital work." Over eight hundred people of all faiths responded.
In 1926, Lawrence published his autobiography, Memories of a Happy Life.
His sons, following in his footsteps also became bishops of the Episcopal Church. William Appleton Lawrence was elected 3rd Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts (1925–41) and Frederic C. Lawrence was elected suffragan bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts (1956–68). Lawrence's daughter Sarah founded the Junior League of Boston in 1906. She later married her father's successor, Bishop Charles Lewis Slattery, in 1923.
The "banker bishop" is quoted as having said, "In the long run it is only to the man of morality that wealth comes... We, like the Psalmists, occasionally see the wicked prosper, but only occasionally. Godliness is in league with riches.”
- Bibliographic directory from Project Canterbury
- Works written by or about William Lawrence at Wikisource
- Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts - official website
- Works by or about William Lawrence (bishop) in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
|Episcopal Church (USA) titles|
|7th Bishop of Massachusetts
1893 – 1927
Charles Lewis Slattery
|Awards and achievements|
William G. McAdoo
|Cover of Time Magazine
14 January 1924
Henry Cabot Lodge